June: The Month of Younger Ones

African-Child-logoOn June 16, 1976, about 10,000 black school children marched the streets of Soweto, South Africa in a column more than half a mile long, protesting the inferior quality of their education and demanding the right to be taught in their own language. Hundreds of children were shot down by security forces and more than a hundred people were killed during the following two weeks of protest, not to mention the countless number who were injured.

June 16th has been celebrated since 1991 as the Day of the African Child, to honour the memory of those killed and the courage of those who marched. It also brings a reminder of the continuing struggles with health, education, protection and inequality. The Day of the African Child is this month’s challenge on the KAS forum.

wwkipeuropeCoinciding with the Day of the African Child is World Wide Knit in Public Day, from June 14 to June 22. WWKPD has grown from a single day to a week-long celebration and serves as a way for knitters/crocheters to come together and enjoy each other’s company. I don’t mind crocheting in public. Many people will stare, mostly because they’re transfixed by how fast my fingers move. I’ve encouraged more than a few people to learn, taught two people how to crochet and spread the word about KAS to as many people as will listen.

Also of note are some June factoids. The first is that June is the month with the longest daylight hours in the Northern Hemisphere and the shortest number of daylight hours in the Southern Hemisphere, where South Africa is. The second interesting tidbit is that the name June is fabled to come from the Latin word iuniores, meaning “younger ones,” as opposed to maiores (“elders”) for the month of May.

When I took all of these things into consideration, I immediately wanted to make a Hexagon Sweater for the June challenge. It’s a perfect way to honour the children of South Africa, I can work on it anywhere and it keeps the little ones warm during the darker winter months.

Hexagon Sweater

I picked up this fantastic green yarn on our last trip to the U.S. and paired it with a beautiful periwinkle-lavendar (actually called Lavender Blue on the label). Hopefully these vibrant colours will brighten a dark night.

More StashLast night I was also lucky enough to receive a HUGE bag of donated yarn by someone who was looking to contribute to a charitable cause. I can’t wait to sift through this bag of varied colours, textures and fibres. It’s almost like Christmas all over again!

Have fun with this challenge and be sure to check out some of the amazingly creative squares fellow members have made, from the African Flower pattern to educational squares to African colour themes!

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April’s Colour Collision

We’ve had a particularly long and snowy winter here in Canada but the signs were slowly appearing that Spring was around the corner. The geese came back, the snow melted (with the exception of some stubborn snowbanks), the garden showed signs of coming back to life and there is even a duck nesting in it. And then yesterday it snowed. AGAIN. Will winter ever end, I wondered?

Garden Duck

Then I checked out the April challenge on the KAS forum, Colour Collision. Could anything be more right to combat the white fluffiness of never ending snow? I’m lucky enough to have a large stash of yarn, balls given to me from here and there or picked up from a sale I couldn’t resist. I raided my stash last night for the most colourful yarns I could find and worked them up into the most colourful square I could think of.

Colour Collision SquareThe sun was shining on my square when I woke up this morning. What a difference a day makes! The morning was bright, the snow was melting despite the below freezing temperature and my square appeared even brighter than it did last night.

I know winter can’t last forever but it certainly does feel like it sometimes. Working on this square lifted my spirits and I hope it will lift the spirit of a little one when they receive it in a finished blanket.

Here are some photos of other members’ Colour Collision squares, and what an amazing job they’ve done!



Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie



Mary Anne

Mary Anne

Lisa Marie2

Lisa Marie’s Go-Over

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Happy 8th birthday, Mason!

MasonMy big boy Mason turns eight years old today! Now that his Minecraft-themed party is over, I can share some pics. For those of you who don’t know, Minecraft is a computer game where you “mine” for 3D textured cubes and build, well, pretty much anything you want. It’s very popular with both kids Mason’s age and adults alike. I’ve learned a lot about Minecraft over the past month!

For the invitation, I got a 3″ brown box from a storage solutions store and printed green pixelated grass for the top and edge to mimic a grass cube.


Mason labeled the food – wool (popcorn), sticks (pretzels), TNT (licorice) and monster eggs (jelly beans).


Minecraft cakeI found out there is a cake in Minecraft. Who knew? Naturally, I had to make it and naturally, I had to add to it so it wasn’t so plain. So I made a sugar cookie pickaxe and iced squares onto it.


Then the boys “mined” (scavenger hunt) for crocheted Minecraft blocks – creeper, diamond, grass cube, obsidian, stone, TNT and emerald. I had a ton of fun making them!


A good time was had by all! Now on to Evan’s birthday party ideas…

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Hearts Warming Hands

Last night I tucked the boys into bed and casually checked my email, where there was a March KASnippet waiting for me. I began reading about Hobby X and the move to the new office space (YAY!) but the Hand-Warmers stopped me in my tracks. I’ve always thought I needed to send a hat with a batch of squares but there’s been a surplus of hats. The perfect solution is Hand-Warmers! ‘What a fantastic idea’ was my first thought. ‘Think of the possibilities!’ was my second – the colours of the South African flag, a rainbow, adding a flower, adding a butterfly, stripes, a diagonal pattern… the possibilities truly are endless.

HandWarmers1I immediately went upstairs, chose my colours and started crocheting. I used 25 stitches, as Linda laid out in the pattern, worsted weight yarn and a 6.0 mm hook. In the time it takes me to crochet a square, one hour, I had a pair of completed hand-warmers. And they weren’t kidding, it took very little yarn. A great stashbuster! The sizing is perfect for both my 4-year old and 7-year old.

I did make some alterations. To save myself from the sewing, I crocheted my last row to the beginning chain, with the chain row at the front of my work and using the back loops of my second-to-last row, right sides together. For stitches 15 to 20, I crocheted only on the second-to-last row to create the thumb hole (see below), then picked up both rows for the last five stitches. Lastly, I added an edge around the top to stop little fingers from snagging the places where I carried the yarn. It also helps to give a nice finishing and shows where the top is so no one is guessing which way is up.


I’ve spent the last month crocheting mittens and hats for an April craft sale so making a pair of Hand-Warmers was a welcome diversion. I’m no stranger to ribbing, both on my mittens and from my knitting friends who tease me all the time about how fast crochet is compared to knitting.

HandWarmers2I can see already that these are going to be addictive. I have so many little balls of yarn to use up, some that were donated to me, some that were the end of a larger ball. It’s a great portable project with very little time commitment. They would slip nicely into a KAS package. And it would be an amazing first project for anyone learning to crochet or knit.

I say, HOORAY! for Linda Maltby!

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Squaring in a Circle

The first square I’ve made since the end of 2013 was crocheted at a knitting circle with a couple of friends. Being off work has finally given me the time to join a social circle and it’s amazing to see how much I get done.

Crocheting in public is very different from doing it with friends. I bring my crochet to the doctor’s office, parties, family get-togethers, the park and on transit. Most people ignore it and some ask what I’m working on. But when we’re all working on something, it becomes less about the needlework and more about the chatter. And I have to admit, I really like it.

Together SquareThis reversible square has a warm waffle texture. Using stripes really brings out the visual texture of the stitch (see Week 49 for examples). My next project uses this stitch in a baby blanket for a friend.

Start with an even number of chains.
Row 1: *Single crochet two together, chain one*, repeat * * across, sc in last stitch.

Row 2: *Sc two together (using the ch-1 space for the second half of the stitch), ch 1*, repeat * * across, sc in last stitch.

Get ready for a deluge of Michael’s blankets!
Blanket five…


Blanket six…


Blanket seven…


Blanket eight…


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The Colours of our Mettle

For the first time in Olympic history, Canada has topped the medal standings at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. This goes for the Summer Olympics as well. We’re now tied for second place but for quite a few days we stood at the number one spot.

Medal Standing

I don’t typically watch sports but there’s something about the Olympics that turns me into a tense, raving, rabid patriot. David thinks I’m crazy for yelling at an athlete to go faster or for being concerned when someone crashes on the luge track. I guess it’s because I have a competitive streak and I’m a proud Canadian. I’m flabbergasted that we’ve done so well, being used to Canadians getting shut out of a medal in fourth place or not making it to the top ten. I’m so proud of our athletes and wish the athletes from around the world all the best.


Here’s a photo of blanket three for Michael’s:


And here is blanket four:


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A Square by Any Other Name

WUC_WUCF_logosStarted in 1991 in a small Wisconsin town, Warm Up America! is a charity in the United States that accepts 7″ x 9″ knitted and crocheted sections. Volunteers sew them into blankets for people in need. Late last year WUA! started a chapter in Canada called Warm Up Canada! through the Michaels craft store chain.

Michaels has always accepted squares – I’ve donated some of my extra Knit-a-square pieces – but joining WUC! has kicked it up a notch. They held a blanket joining event a couple of weeks ago and I was really excited to volunteer. I showed up at the “event” only to find that nothing was set up because, as the store manager told me, “We didn’t think anyone was going to come.” They set up a table for me in the yarn section, wheeled over the box of donated squares and put me to work. Unfortunately, nothing had been sorted. Five or six different sizes of squares were in the bin so I spent my time sorting and compiling blanket packs, directing customers to different areas of the store, telling people where the washroom was and helping customers choose a yarn for their project. You would think I worked there!

At the end of the afternoon (four hours later), I had ten packs ready to go and offered to take them home to sew them into blankets. “You would do that?” was the manager’s reaction. I guess they don’t get a lot of people volunteering their time. I brought the ten bags home and started sewing right away.

I definitely have a new appreciation for Knit-a-square volunteers! Organizing the squares into blankets was fun but challenging. I’ve since reorganized the squares within each blanket to better spread out the colour. There are multiple variations of an 8″ square. They stretch to fit but most people don’t sew in their ends. It takes me two to three days to sew one blanket and I’ve got quite the system going. It feels surreal to be sewing the squares I donated in a blanket. It’s given me something to do (even though I didn’t have a shortage of projects) and I get to help the people in my community.

I have three blankets finished. Here is the first one:

Blanket One

And blanket number two:

Blanket Two

David’s back is doing much, much better! He’s off the painkillers for the most part and is moving around the house without his cane, although I hassle him all the time to keep it close. I haven’t heard anything about a job but we’re okay with how things are.

Mason is auditioning for the school’s talent show next week. Evan is having fun dressing up as a S.W.A.T. guy and protecting SWAT Momma and SWAT Daddy. He takes things very seriously.

We’re all getting very sick of frigid temperatures and mountainous snowbanks. Hopefully the groundhogs will tell us on Sunday that spring is around the corner!

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Week 52: I Made it!

Three hundred and eighty-five squares totalling eleven blankets, plus eleven hats and one KASCuddle… my 2013 Square-a-Day commitment is complete!


This blog quickly turned into more than just a public commitment to make a square a day for Knit-a-square. I was able to introduce you to so many people and worthy causes, celebrate birthdays and remember loved ones who have passed, review books and experiment with recipes, delve into the past and explore the future, even take a virtual trip to a handful of countries with my flag squares.

I learned to…
– read and understand new patterns
– manage my time better
– trust my instincts
– listen to my intuition
– knit!

I finished the alphabet blanket. I found new stitches, colours and techniques, using a whopping 98 balls of yarn and wool in the process! Additionally, throughout the year I made a scarf, baby blanket, five pairs of mittens, a Lego swim bag for Mason, and two mini Baba’s and a horse for Evan. There were times when I fell behind but I always got caught up.

It has been an honour to write each week knowing that there are people out there who care about and are interested in what I have to say. Thank you for all the kind words you have given and for accompanying me on this journey.


This week contains a whopping 13 squares so that I could make up the bonus number. Square two is for Christmas, using yarn my wonderful boys picked out for me. Square three uses yarn my mom gave me in my stocking. Square seven rounds out the year and follows the same idea as the first square – a square in a square.

Week 52

The bonus squares… Square two is my usual L pattern, done in rows. For square three, I tried a mitred square pattern. It ended up a bit wonky because of the three SC together to form the corner.

Week 52 Bonus

Squares in a SquareI finished my last square at 10 pm on New Year’s Eve and had just enough time left to make a matching hat.

Keep reading for the big reveal!

Square Count: 365
Bonus Squares: 20
Blankets: 11!
Hats: 11


To be brutally honest, I felt a bit lost on January 1. It was strange not to be crocheting a square or feel the pressure to have something done. Next on the agenda will be sewing the alphabet blanket together. I have another KASCuddle on the go. I recently picked up an afghan I started more than five years ago. David is happy to have me back! Though not as often, I still make squares. Now I’d like to focus my energy on finishing UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and fundraising for postage. I’d also like to find a job closer to home.

I’ve been asked if I’m going to continue the blog and the answer is undoubtedly YES. I like writing, sharing information and shining a light on whatever happiness I can find in the world. I like providing Knit-a-square updates and hope to spread the word more in the future.

And so, without further ado, here are the squares!

Square Compilation

Thank you again for every ounce of support. I love you all and wish you nothing but happiness and peace for the coming year.


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Week 51: Exercising Empathizing

Dr Brene BrownDr. Brené Brown is a research professor and best-selling author who spoke about the difference between empathy and sympathy. Have you every shared someone else’s feelings or emotions? If so, you have experienced empathy, which differs from sympathy in that when you’re being sympathetic, you care about and feel sorry for someone else’s troubles. Sympathy allows for a feeling of support; empathy allows you to feel.

Empathy is a choice and it’s a vulnerable choice because in order to connect with you, I have to connect with something in myself that knows that feeling.

I have to admit, I am an “at least”-er. I try to look on the bright side because that’s how I thought I could make people feel better. But all this time I’ve been sympathizing instead of empathizing, which is disappointing because I thought I was an empathetic person. Dr. Brown is right – a response doesn’t make something better; only a connection to another person can do that.


I went for colour this week, and lots of it. No bonus squares this week but I’m going to bust those out in time for December 31. I’ve done the pattern for squares five through seven earlier this year but I love the blue and yellow together.

Week 51

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and will have a very happy New Year’s. I think this says it all!


Square Count: 357
Bonus Squares: 14
Blankets: 10
Hats: 9

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Week 50: The Big 1-0!

It’s a very busy time of the year for everyone so I’m going to keep this week’s update short and sweet. Just over a week ago I was lucky enough to visit a Knit-a-square friend, Anne, who is instrumental in moderating the forum and knitting for KAS. Not only did I enjoy our chin wag but I also received a whack load of yarn, thanks to Mili and Anne!

New Colours


Milestone alert… blanket number TEN is complete!

Week 50

The bonus squares…

Week 50 Bonus

Sampler SquareSquare four is a sampler square that uses single crochet, two SC together, cross-stitch, flag stitch and a spike stitch.

Not long now!

Square Count: 350!
Bonus Squares: 14
Blankets: 10!
Hats: 9

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